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[pak-i-durm] /ˈpæk ɪˌdɜrm/
any of the thick-skinned, nonruminant ungulates, as the elephant, hippopotamus, and rhinoceros.
an elephant.
a person who is not sensitive to criticism, ridicule, etc.; a thick-skinned person.
Origin of pachyderm
1830-40; < New Latin Pachyderma, assumed singular of Pachydermata (plural) obsolete order name < Greek pachý(s) thick + -dérmata, neuter plural of -dermatos -skinned, adj. derivative of dermat-, stem of dérma skin, derma1
Related forms
pachydermal, pachydermous, pachydermic, pachydermoid, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pachyderm
Historical Examples
  • "It is a pachyderm—consequently, a relation of the pig," answered my friend.

  • She's a pachyderm and she's a pig; and, if she keeps on, she'll drag her husband to her level.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • It had not been a delicate negotiation, because Mrs. Cole-Mortimer had the skin of a pachyderm.

    The Angel of Terror Edgar Wallace
  • The words ought to have scorched him, pachyderm though he was.

    T. Tembarom Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • A little more of the pachyderm would help me in this respect.

  • It is true there was much reason in his holding to the opinion that the hyrax is no pachyderm.

    The Young Yagers Mayne Reid
  • "He needn't be, perched on the top of the pachyderm," answered Scott.

    Across India Oliver Optic
  • Are you going among elephants, Flix, and don't know what a pachyderm is?

    Across India Oliver Optic
  • All of them had heard that an ordinary leaden bullet will not penetrate the tough thick skin of the great “pachyderm.”

    The Bush Boys Captain Mayne Reid
  • This pachyderm and Rhinoceros tichorhinus are cited as characterising the loess in various parts of the valley of the Rhine.

British Dictionary definitions for pachyderm


any very large thick-skinned mammal, such as an elephant, rhinoceros, or hippopotamus
Derived Forms
pachydermatous, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from French pachyderme, from Greek pakhudermos thick-skinned, from pakhus thick + derma skin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pachyderm

1838, from French pachyderme (c.1600), adopted as a biological term 1797 by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832), from Greek pachydermos "thick-skinned," from pachys "thick, large, massive," from PIE *bhengh- "thick, fat" (cf. Sanskrit bahu- "much, numerous" Avestan bazah- "height, depth," Hittite pankush "large," Old Norse bingr "heap," Old High German bungo "a bulb," Lithuanian biess "thick") + derma "skin" (see derma).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pachyderm in Science
Any of various large, thick-skinned mammals, such as the elephant, rhinoceros, or hippopotamus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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